Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 17

FEATURE
Though, what exactly does mindfulness look like as it applies to the
workplace? For Elaine L. Fitch, managing partner of Kalijarvi, Chuzi,
Newman & Fitch, P.C., it means considering the whole person. Her firm
emphasizes open communication and acknowledgment of employees'
total life obligations.
" Attorneys set their own schedules to meet the needs of their lives; there
is no 9 to 5 anymore, " says Fitch, who stresses the importance of trusting
attorneys to monitor their own schedules. " If it becomes insufferable,
then they let us know, and we work with them. "
Fitch also understands the complexity of modern workplace policies
in the wake of the pandemic. Even in using a mindfulness approach,
no decision is simple. " The tricky part is you want to do right by your
employees, but you [also] have a business to run. That is probably the
hardest balance, " she says.
Despite the difficult layers of conversation yet to be had, her firm is dedicated
to maintaining office wellness and mindfulness as best as it can.
" There cannot be any
hard and fast rules
right now if you want
to keep your employees
and your colleagues
sane, productive, and
happy. "
ELAINE L. FITCH
Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C.
" The most important thing I have learned during COVID is to try to meet
each person where they are with their particular circumstances, " Fitch
says. " There cannot be any hard and fast rules right now if you want to
keep your employees and your colleagues sane, productive, and happy. "
Thinking of her personal happiness, Fitch says that when she returns to
her office downtown, she plans to take mental refreshers during the day
by stepping away from work and perhaps taking a walk. " It can't be work
all the time; that's not good for anyone's soul, " she says.
FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS
According to a 2020 survey by Mercer, a consulting firm focused on
employee benefits, 94 percent of employers say productivity has
remained the same or improved since employees began working
remotely. Also, 83 percent of employers will continue to provide this flexibility
post-pandemic.
Margaret M. Cassidy, founder of Cassidy Law PLLC, has always understood
the value and importance of remaining flexible. " Before starting
my firm, working for two different global businesses, I learned to
effectively meet with my internal clients around the globe over tele -
" Flexibility and trust
are foundational for a
satisfying and effective
work environment
and to provide the
best support. "
MARGARET M. CASSIDY
Cassidy Law PLLC
con ferences to build relationships with them, " she says. " As a result of
working internationally and having to be on calls late night and early
morning, my former employers had flexible work environments. As long
as I delivered, I could work where I needed to work to manage my life. "
Although Cassidy is not requiring on-site work, she says employees who
make a trip to the office are asked to wear masks, maintain social distancing,
and practice good hygiene.
An estimated 2.2 million women left the workforce between February
and October 2020, according to the National Women's Law Center.
Despite gains made throughout the years, most child care responsibilities
still fall on women. By allowing flexible work hours at her boutique
firm and trusting that the work will be done on time, Cassidy conveys
support and respect, enabling women at her firm to manage their lives.
Cassidy says firms also need to ensure that employees have the capability
and commitment to manage this flexibility; otherwise, it is frustrating
for both employer and employee, and the relationship may not
work. " I learned through these experiences that flexibility and trust are
foundational for a satisfying and effective work environment and to
provide the best support, " Cassidy says. " I aim for that in my firm -
get the work done from wherever you are. "
Cassidy, Fitch, Rahal, and others demonstrate that the legal profession
can change, despite the notorious rigidity of its workplace practices.
No longer bound to brick-and-mortar offices, law firms have seen, in
many cases, their practices surge amidst the chaos under a lingering
pandemic.
There are more discussions to be had, more practical lessons to implement,
but for now employers would do well to recognize that their
employees are layered individuals with a host of needs. By implementing
compassionate solutions, workplace mindfulness, and flexibility, the profession
will go a long way in ensuring long-term success and overall
employee satisfaction.
June S. Phillips is a D.C. Bar member and founder of TrueBliss Television.
JULY/AUGUST 2021
* WASHINGTON LAWYER 17
Cassidy Law PLLC
Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C.

Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Ready for Reentry feature
LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Leadership Academy feature
DC Bar Annual Report
DC Bar Budget
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
ABA Delegate's Corner
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Ready for Reentry feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Leadership Academy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 23
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Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Annual Report
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Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Budget
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - ABA Delegate's Corner
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Slice of Wry
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